Monday, 23 October 2017

23rd of October: Blubber on the beach

This morning, whilst surveying the western end of Blakeney Point for the monthly Wetland Bird Survey, I was surprised and delighted to spot the first Grey Seal pup of the autumn...

I photographed it through my telescope, to prevent getting too close and causing unnecessary disturbance.

Over the last few year's, the first pup has usually been born between 30th October and 1st November. Until today, the earliest first pup was on 26th October. The pup looked healthy and well, it is the first of 2000+ we are expecting over the next 10 weeks or so. The rookery is already made up of 194 adult Grey Seals hauled out on the beach - along with a lone Common Seal looking slightly out of place!

Here is how you can safely enjoy seeing the seal pups without disturbing them:

The best and recommended way to see the seal pups is by boat from Morston Quay. The pupping area is fenced off with no access for visitors giving the seals space to give birth and to raise their pups. It is possible to walk but with an arduous six mile round trip on loose shingle with no facilities, it is not recommended. Beans Boat Trips and Temples Seal Trips both run seal trips during the pupping season departing from Morston Quay. These are popular so please contact the providers in advance for times and bookings.

Always keep your distance from any seals you may come across. Please do not try to take your photo with any seals as mothers are protective and males are very territorial which could result in serious injury to you or the death of a pup.

If you do decide to visit on foot then the team would prefer dogs to be left at home but if you wish to bring them then please keep them on a short lead at all times.

Please respect fence lines and any advice given to you by National Trust.

Other sightings on Blakeney Point this morning were two Merlins together over Beach Way. A Peregrine has also been seen regularly over the previous week.

The sands north of the Point are ever-changing. Over the past few years, the harbour entrance has moved several metres eastwards and is now the other side of the Hjordis wreck.
(Click photograph to enlarge)

The Blakeney Harbour Association have been busy moving the channel marker buoys to enable safe nautical navigation.

Finally, Ranger Carl and I would like to thank all who came on our sell-out autumn wildfowl walk on Saturday. Despite 'Storm Brian', we were treated to fantastic Marsh Harrier displays, a flock of several hundred Golden Plover above Blakeney Harbour and skeins of Pink-footed Geese flying over Blakeney Freshes to roost at neighbouring Cley Marshes.

Ajay Tegala,

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